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New York Needs Gordon Matta-Clark Now More Than Ever

A new retrospective at the Bronx Museum highlights the legendary artist’s ability to bring disparate communities together in the spirit of radical creation.
Gordon Matta-Clark and Gerry Hovagimyan working on Conical Intersect, 1975.
Gordon Matta-Clark and Gerry Hovagimyan working on Conical Intersect, 1975.Harry Gruyaert/© 2017 Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and David Zwirner, New York

As the legend has it, New York City in the 1970s was both terrifying and exhilarating.

On the one hand, it teetered on the brink of total fiscal collapse, with crime rates soaring and whole neighborhoods falling into dereliction. Meanwhile, areas like Soho and the East Village had just begun a cultural renaissance, with an influx of young artists, new galleries, and avant-garde performance venues. Straddling two worlds, rebelliously attempting to bridge both, was Gordon Matta-Clark.